In-depth: Democratic Governance

Visitors using a public information system at the One-Stop-Shop
UNDP in Uzbekistan: One-Stop-Shops and government information centres have made information and services easily accessible to the greater public

The Governance Unit of UNDP in Uzbekistan has worked to improve the capacity of Uzbekistan’s government at all levels. It works to promote the public administration system’s decentralisation, enhance parliamentary abilities, ensure universal access to justice, raise awareness of international human rights principles, and encourage partnership between NGOs and government partners to address on-going social challenges.

The unit also works to address the HIV epidemic in Uzbekistan, to promote the transparency of government bodies and national institutions, to encourage social innovation and volunteerism, and to support economic diplomacy. It has also ensured the security of Uzbekistan’s borders with neighbouring countries.

It also works to strengthen the quality of available legal services, promote the gender mainstreaming and the availability of information and communication technologies (ICT), streamline public service and advocate for government transparency.
    
What Has Been Done

The Governance Unit has worked to improve ‘checks and balances’ between the executive, judiciary and legislative branches of the Uzbekistan government. An example of this has been the introduction of the ‘single window’ approach to delivering public services to exporters, which limits chance for error while minimizing interference by customs officials.

The unit has cooperated with national partners to promote public administration reform and decentralise local government. The ‘One-Stop-Shop approach to providing public services has ensured Uzbek citizens can access information in a fast and efficient manner, while piloting Information Centres and transferring fiscal taxes to local budgets have enhanced the transparency and decentralisation of government.  

The core functions of parliament (the Oliy Majlis) have been enhanced through better parliamentary journalism, stronger partnerships with NGOs, and specialised expertise in thematic areas. Parliamentary training programs have improved both awareness of gender issues and the implementation of UN Conventions and MDGs, while a training centre has been established in the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis.

The Governance Unit has improved inclusive governance by encouraging the involvement of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), NGOs and members of the public in decision-making processes. Social challenges have been addressed through improved ‘Social Partnership’ between CSOs and government bodies. A Public Council has helped improve participatory governance, while the ‘E-hujjat’ electronic document exchange system has enhanced cooperation between government offices.

In order to help limit the HIV epidemic in Uzbekistan, the Governance Unit has worked with national partners to ensure the availability of quality prevention, treatment and support services to most-at-risk groups and young people. The availability of Antiretroviral Treatment (ARVT) has been substantially increased. Uzbekistan’s youth have been mobilised through a new social innovation and volunteerism  programme, launched together with UNV, to be a force for positive change in their communities. The unit has also worked to enhance youth employment.

The Governance Unit has worked to enhance access to justice and strengthen the rule of law. Anti-corruption initiatives have been carried out, while training courses have focused on strategic planning and communication, and the improvement of administrative procedures. Legislative acts and by-laws have become publically accessible in Russian and Uzbek languages. The Border Management Programme in Central Asia has worked to maintain the security of regional borders while facilitating legal trade.

Future Initiatives

The Governance Unit’s future initiatives will continue its current fields of work, while also working to promote economic diplomacy. Advocacy for public administration reform will continue, while concept notes on matters including One-Stop-Shop and E-billing systems for public services will be presented to government partners. An Analytical and Research Centre will be established at the Oliy Majlis.

The introduction of information sharing ICT tools at civil courts will help improve access to justice and rule of law, while the Supreme Court will be supported in developing the concept and draft law ‘On Prevention of Corruption’.

ARVT drugs will continue to be provided to those in need, the adoption of a comprehensive Law on HIV will be promoted, and a Tashkent-based HIV telephone helpline will be piloted. Social inclusion and participation will continue to supported, while the institutionalisation of an annual state employment programme, the outsourcing of social services to NGOs and the draft of a National Action Plan for the Convention on the Rights of Persons will be drafted.

The Governance Unit will help the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in preparing and implementing a comprehensive program to institutionalise economic diplomacy, while improving the nation’s international economic standing. It will also continue to encourage gender mainstreaming within its national partners and UNDP’s projects, while it will also enhance partnership with the Economic Governance and Environment & Energy units.